Happy Gyulovo Week, everyone!
This week, between Lazarov Saturday and Orthodox Easter, covers almost all of the events of my nearly-finished historical fantasy The Sultan’s Enchanter.
It’s during this week in early spring that Elena, the witch of Gyulovo, makes a last-ditch attempt to save her village from a plague of mindlessness, using as her principle weapon an Ottoman battle-enchanter. There’s also kissing, but forget about that for now!
This is a great week to gather sense impressions for the story — bits and pieces to add to description and build atmosphere. And since this is the first book I’ve written that actually takes place in the country where I live, it would be stupid to let the week go by without looking out the damn window and listening to the birds.
Martenitsi dangling everywhere: you’re supposed to hang your martenitsa on the first flowering bush or tree you see (probably a cherry-plum) or hang it on whatever tree is handy if you see a stork fly by. This year, I got rid of martenitsi on the 4th, which is a bit late.
The smell of cherry and cherry-plum flowers.
Low, spreading primroses.
Lillies spiking up through the old leaves.
Green buds spotting briars. The stems of rose bushes turning green.
Blackbirds hopping around looking for worms, also calling to each other at night.
Great tits singing (dee-dee-dee dee-dee-dee) or in pairs (stop giggling) looking for nest materials.
Too cold in the morning and too hot in the day
Lots of chives and spring onions in everything.
The first bats.
The lambs that are alive now will probably stay alive.
The first flies and bees.
Worms stranded in puddles.
Diminishing wood piles.
The taste of kozunak, especially the inside part that didn’t get cooked all the way through — it’s like lemon-flavored pudding. I know it’s full of salmonella and I don’t care. You can feel it settle in your gut like ballast and in my book, that’s a good thing.